Since 2007, the Shell Houston Open has been the lead into the Masters. In the city where he attended college, Fred Couples has garnered some green jacket buzz when he tees it up this week at Redstone CC.
Tack on a Champions Tour win in Mississippi last Sunday, and Couples is an even hotter name than usual in the Lone Star State.
Couples cautioned Wednesday, however, that his best is more ordinary on the PGA Tour. His power may be overwhelming to the 50-plus set, but not for the next two weeks..
'You have to hit an equal tee shot and very good second shot just to think about making pars (on the PGA Tour),' he said. That's what I try and do.'
Couples downplayed his chances against the top players in the world at Augusta National.
'You get the Rory McIlroy and Phils, that (can) shoot 66, 67. That's incredible in that course. For me, a really good score seems like it's 70 or 71,' he said.
'If I shoot four of them at the end of the week, I'm in a great spot.'
The '92 Masters winner tips the last American winner of the green jacket to do so again next week.
'Augusta National (is Mickelson's) playground. It is for me, too. If that's how you look at the place, you're always going to play well. I would consider Phil to be a favorite every year.'